Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Every year I take thousands of pictures. That’s no exaggeration. One of my traditions at the start of a new year is to clean out some of the images I don’t need and free up some space on my computer.

Inevitably it turns into a wonderful stroll down memory lane and it never fails I find some great keepers that I totally forgot about. Even some I never shared with anyone.

These are 18 never before shared photos from 2018 that are making the cut as keepers. A few may even be going up on the wall!

And as always, if you’re wanting to learn how to take better pictures of your kids this year, check out my photography course Child’s Play: Simple Tips for Photographing Children.

1. Strawberry Farm

In the spring I took the kids to the strawberry farm which proved to be a beautiful spot for pictures. I used the Canon EF 24-105mm F/4L lens so I could get wide pictures of the long rows and zoom all the way in for portraits.

2. Puppy Love

I was intentional about taking more pictures of Snoop last year, though I didn’t share many. For this one I used the Canon EF 24-105mm F/4L lens zoomed all the way in to 105mm to create a more portrait look with a blurred background.

3. Big T Under the Trees

For this picture I used the Canon EF 24-105mm F/4L lens zoomed all the way out so I could stand right under him and capture this creative angle with the bright blue sky above him. I had planned to share this photo but never got around to it.

4. Mommy and Me and Baby to Be

This photo was an outtake from a photoshoot I never found up sharing. But it’s one of my favorite photos from my pregnancy. I got much bigger, but the joy Lil’ J had through the whole process made my third pregnancy extra special. I used the vari-angle screen on my Canon DSLR to position us in this shot, then connected to my camera using wifi and the Canon Camera Connect app to remotely take this shot.

5. Dashing Duck Face

Big T got some fancy new clothes and naturally he wanted to try them on and I wanted to photograph him. We stepped into our backyard and I snapped this picture really quick while he attempted to give me a kissy face. I used my Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 lens for this shot. Which continues to be one of my favorite lenses for portraits.

6. Showoffs

There’s nothing like showing off your new baby sister to all your friends. As the kids huddled around the stroller I snapped this wide angle shot from above. I used my Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 lens to snap this shot from a close distance. Since it was still pretty dark in the morning I cranked the ISO up to 5000.

7. Window Light

I love playing with natural light and shadows. My son likes to play with the blinds. We both got a little bit of what we liked with this picture. I used the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens at 70mm at f-2.8. It was an overcast day so the ISO was still at 5000. I used a pretty high shutterspeed of 1.800 because my son is a quick one.

8. Sister Hangout

About a month after Lee Lee was born Lil’ J was begging to tote her around everywhere and always ready to smile and pose with her. Well, she still is.  I used a zoom lens for this shot (24-70mm 2.8/f at 38mm) so I could switch between wide angle photos and zoom in for portraits.

9. Ready, Set, GO!

Big T knew he loved to run but 2018 he discovered a track. Daddy worked with him a lot to try to get the correct stance. I shot this at 24mm to get a nice wider angle of my little runner, the track and the sky above him.

10. Daddy’s Tricks

I didn’t get my husband in enough photos last year, and I want to do better this year. I loved this one I shot from a distance using my EF 24-105mm f/4 lens.

11. Self-Portrait

I used the vari-angle screen on my Canon EOS 6D Mark ii and wifi remote to snap this self-portrait. I shared several self-portraits last year but none like this.

12. Smooches

Usually these expressions are reversed but I’m glad I have evidence of this. Our house was a mess. We had boxes and things everywhere and taking picture in our cramped space was difficult. I blurred out the background of this shot by using my EF 50mm f/1.4 lens with the aperture stopped all the way down to f/1.4. This wound up being one of my favorite photos of the year.  

13. Sisters in Shadows

Lee Lee fell asleep in Lil’ J’s arms. The moment was so sweet and I didn’t want to miss capturing it. My closet camera wasn’t one of my DSLRs but my mirrorless EOS M6 with the kit 15-45mm lens. It didn’t disappoint and did this moment justice. No flash was needed. I was just using available light from the nearby window. I love how their hair disappears into the shadows.  

14. Brotherly Love

Big brother also got in on a lot of sister love this last year. Any time I set her down and she starts to fus, he’s the first one to run over and try to make her happy. I used the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to snap this picture.

15. Friends

Nothing like fall evenings with friends. I snapped this picture of the group at 24mm so I could stand close and get the whole group in the shot.

16. Delicious Baby Rolls

Every week I take a photo of Lee Lee for the ‘gram. But these photoshoots come wind up with A LOT of outtakes and behind-the-scenes chub. Here’s a look at some of that. I used my EF 50mm f/1.4 lens for this shot (as I do every week). I use my vari-angle screen to get as high as I can directly over her.

17. Daddy Daughter

Another elusive daddy shot. This one I snuck while he was watching football. I used my EF 50mm f/1.4 lens for this picture as well but at f/2 so get both of their faces in focus.

18. First Child Last Child

This was another one of those moments where my small mirrorless camera was within reach and I used it to capture a delicate moment. When I saw Snoop had rolled over for some baby snuggled I quickly snapped this with my Canon EOS M50, which also has a vari-angle screen so I could take this picture from a bird’s-eye view. It’s not the most flattering photo of Snoop. Maybe not as cute as napping puppies and babies on a bed, but I think this is as close as we are gonna get.

But then again, who knows what 2019 will bring.

Do you declutter your photos at the start of the new year? What lenses and cameras do you find you use the most?

Can’t decide which camera you want? For tips on choosing which camera is best for your needs check out this post.

And for help deciding what lens to get next, read this post.

On Thanksgiving Day my oldest daughter handed each of us a turkey hat she made herself. She stood by and waited as each of us tried them on for size. My son love his, and wore it all day.

I was decluttering some of our art supplies and beginning to pack up our house. I found a couple of giant Christmas themed coloring books and handed each of them one to work on. My son took his and plopped it on the ground and began to color.

Biracial siblings love

Lee Lee has is fondly amused by her big brother, so I set her beside him while I finished taping up some packing boxes. I was trying to get as much house stuff done over the holiday weekend as I could, while my inbox was quiet.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Lee Lee kicking her little feet and watching her big brother. He noticed too and put his marker down before leaning over her for some kisses.

I dropped what I was doing and ran for my camera. I came back, thankful they were still in the same position and snapped a few shots.

This is what life is all about. Sibling love thanksgiving day. Biracial siblings

This is what life is all about. Sibling love thanksgiving day. Biracial siblings

The room was a mess, toys abound, boxes in the corner, but I didn’t care.

A special moment–A fleeing one–between brother and sister one Thanksgiving morning.

No staging or direction needed. No logos to line up. I was able to sit back and enjoy these two little faces I created smiling at each other.

It's so important to remember to be thankful for what we already have, while we're going after what we want.Click To Tweet

I’m working so hard to build something so great for my children. A place they can grow up with room to run and play. But as I looked at them playing with a handful of toys I had yet to pack I remembered we already have what matters most.

It’s so important to remember to be thankful for what we already have, while we’re going after what we want.

Quiet (or not so quiet) mornings, together. Surrounded by our favorite type of mess. With lots of love abound.

This is what it’s all about.

One of the most common questions I’m asked is about which camera to buy. Whether you’re just starting out or upgrading, there are so many kinds and it can be really hard to narrow down the best one for your needs. Want a new camera for the holidays but not sure which one will best fit your needs?

Choosing the best camera

I’ve used a variety of Canon cameras through the years, and had a number of upgrades so I can give you a very good idea of which camera will work best for your situation. Though I’ve partnered with Canon to sponsor this post, these opinions are all my own.

I’m going to break it down based on size and type of camera and work my way from smallest to largest. I’ll also share photos I’ve taken with each camera so you can get an idea of what they can do.

Ok here we go!

Canon Powershot G7X Mark ii

Choosing a dslr camera

Handy, easy, and great for video.

This is my smallest camera. When people ask me for a video recorder recommendation I throw this out first. You CAN use it to take photos but I use it almost exclusively for video. You don’t have to mess with changing lenses and it works great in low light. Great for shooting travel videos when you’re walking and talking. I used this for vlogging when I went to Israel and I still use this one the most for our cheer vlogs and home videos. I even used it for both pictures and video when we did our obstacle challenge.

Good idea to grab an extra battery cause if you’re recording a lot of video you’ll want to have a backup so you don’t miss a moment.

Since it doesn’t have interchangeable lenses, the zoom quality isn’t the best. If you want something that’s more versatile for both video and images I’d recommend one of the next cameras.

Mirrorless Cameras

Choosing a mirrorless camera

Great for video and pictures. Very small and light (compared to DSLRs). Wonderful for traveling. Have small interchangeable lenses that fit. You can use lenses from your DSLR camera if you have the appropriate converter mount.

Canon EOS M5 and EOS M6

I’m combining these two cameras because they are very similar but there are slight differences that may make you prefer one over the other. Both are mirrorless cameras and they’re much smaller than the DSLR cameras you’re familiar with (like the Canon Rebel). They have interchangeable lenses made especially for these cameras. They’re much smaller, lighter and dare I say cuter.

The only downside I find is that there are less lens options than with a DSLR, but you can use a mount to convert your DSLR lenses to fit, and the main kit lens has worked great for me. The EOS M6 was the only camera I took on my last trip to Disney World.

They both have external microphone plugs so you can connect a microphone if you want better sound (though I’ve always used the internal mic just fine). And they both have wifi so you can easily transfer images to your phone and share online. The EOS M5 has a viewfinder so if you want to look through that to snap the image, instead of just on the screen on the back of the camera (called the LCD).

If you want to take selfies with it, or record yourself in vlogs, the screen flips down so you can see yourself. On the EOS M6 the LCD flips up, and it doesn’t have a viewfinder. I personally prefer the screen going up, it makes it easier for me to hold and easier to connect to tripods.

Canon EOS M50

This is another mirrorless camera similar to the last two I mentioned but has a few major extras that give it a leg up. It can shoot in 4k which is becoming a very popular resolution to watch on our TVs. The screen swings out to the side instead of up or down. It has a viewfinder for getting that shot just right. I also like that it’s easy enough to hand off to someone to snap a picture for you.

If you’re looking for a smaller camera to mostly shoot video with but also occasionally take really nice photos I’d recommend this camera. Absolutely great for vloggers and bloggers just getting going with photography but mostly want to focus on video. And parents who want a handy camera to toss in a small bag and use record lots of video of their kids or take pictures when you’re out and about.

It’s a step up from a point and shoot camera but leaps and bounds above a cellphone camera. But if you’re wanting to really dive into photography you’re probably going to want more lens options so I’d recommend you keep reading on to some of the following cameras.

Canon EOS R

This is Canon’s newest mirrorless camera (I’m talking brand new, just released as of when this blog was written) and some of the biggest differences between this and the others I’ve mentioned is the fact that this larger and is a full-frame camera instead of a crop sensor. In English this means you’ll get a lot more room with your lenses. If you feel crunched in your home, or like you can’t seem to get far back enough to take a picture with your favorite lens, you’ll find you’ll get a lot more room to work with on a full frame camera.

This is a big step up from the previous camera and great if you’re wanting more professional quality gear. That larger sensor is going to allow you to take higher quality images, especially in darker situations. The ISO goes up to 40,000 vs 25,600 on the M50 (read my post here for more info on what that means). Video also shoots in 4k.

Another great perk is this new camera also comes with a handful of new lenses. And if you already have Canon lenses you can use those on it with an adapter. If you’re just starting out and wanting to tiptoe into great photography with lots of lens options I’d recommend you consider one of the next two cameras.


DSLR Crop Sensor Cameras

Choosing a dslr camera

These are the cameras you’re probably most used to seeing around. When it comes to pictures, I love these cameras. When it comes to video, I love these cameras. I tend to use these most for everyday pictures of my kids and creative blog projects. They have a HUGE selection of lenses that allows for a lot of creativity in the types of looks you want to go for. Make sure you check out my post on choosing the best DSLR lens after finishing this section.

Crop sensor DSLRs are more affordable cameras than the full-frames I’ll mention next.

Canon EOS Rebel T7i

The Canon Rebel was my first DSLR camera and is still the camera I recommend to bloggers and moms dipping their toes into photography with hopes to dive in. They’re the lightest of the DSLRs and they’re programed to be so user-friendly with Feature Assist, so it’s really easy to start learning the different modes and how to work a camera that could otherwise seem intimidating. It has a full articulated touch LCD and you can autofocus and track focus in video mode by just touching the screen.

How to take forced perspective photos, fun creative photography with kids.

I can’t say enough good things about this camera. The great thing is as you grow as a photographer and decide to upgrade your lenses down the road, you EF lenses can still be used on any other Canon DSLR you get.

canon rebel t7i example

Canon EOS 80D

This camera is a little step up from the Canon Rebel. Aside from size, the main difference is this camera is weather sealed and more durable, and you can shoot at a much higher shutter speed (max 1/8000 sec) so if you want the ability to freeze something moving really fast while still blurring out the background on a sunny day, this would help.

This camera also has a headphone jack in addition to an external mic jack. This can come in handy if you’re recording a lot of external audio and want to be able to listen to the quality as you’re recording. I really love this camera for video as you can really make your backgrounds disappear and focus in on your subject.

Unschooling a 3 year old


DSLR Full Frame Cameras

Choosing a dslr camera

Ok now we’re rounding out the DSLRs with the full frame options. Like mentioned above with the mirrorless cameras, the full frame cameras don’t crop out as much of the image you’re shooting. This gives you more room to work with in tighter spaces. These also are great if you’re wanting to do a lot of wide angle photography, landscapes, or buildings since you’ll be able to use a wide angle lens to its true focal length.

The sensors are larger which also means you’ll usually have better shooting capabilities in darker rooms with less light.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

I don’t like saying this in front of my other cameras but this is probably my favorite. It used to be my second favorite but lately it’s moved into first place because of the fully articulated touch screen. I use this for all of Lee Lee’s weekly baby updates and previously used it for all of my stop motion pregnancy bumpdates.

If you’ve been using a crop sensor DSLR for a while and feel like you’re ready for another step up, this camera is an excellent option. Great in low light, captures video beautifully and has an external microphone jack to take your video quality up a notch. It’s also a little lighter and more affordable than the last camera I’ll mention.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

When I am looking for my go-to camera for pictures I’ll usually reach for this one first. It’s fast, and I’m most comfortable with it. I know I’ll get a high-quality image that I could potentially print really large. All of the other cameras I’ve mentioned will produce great prints too, but you know, in case I want to blow something up for a billboard some day.

I also love that it has a compact flash card slot because those cards can save and preview my super large images super fast saving. It’s more durable, has a larger LCD (though it doesn’t flip out) and it can shoot video in 4k.

If you need to shoot in darker situations a lot and need something that works great in low light, want something with all the bells and whistles for photography, shoots 4k video this is a great option. If you want to get in front of this camera you can always use its wifi to connect to your phone and remotely control it that way (as with all the other cameras I’ve mentioned today).

So there you have it. Any questions?

Here’s a cheat sheet. You can download it here.

How to choose the best camera for you

Which one are you gonna get?


Eight years ago we did a newborn photoshoot with Lil’ J and she mostly wasn’t having it. Little Lee Lee also, wasn’t really feeling like posing for photos when she was a week old. It must be a thing with my daughters. I think it’s because they don’t like to be set down. Our first try Lee Lee was awake almost the entire time. Giving us the stink eye in all her photos.

But still, I was really excited to get some done, and Lindsay was just as persistent and super patient with my little one and she managed to get some absolutely gorgeous photographs of my stubborn little chunker.

The only person less excited for pictures is my husband, but he cooperated for a few, even after Lee Lee peed on him in the middle of it all.

These are truly works of art and I can’t wait to blow these up and show them off in our new home.

I hope you enjoy these half as much as I do, and if you’re in the market for family or newborn photography in the Austin area, be sure to check out Lindsay Mac.


So, how’s your baby fever?



Social media can be such a blessing and a curse. Very rarely is what you see, actually what you get. I’ve already shared with you the bribes it takes for me to get that perfect family bluebonnet photo. And I’ve shared lots and lots of tips to help you capture your kids being active, in dark settings, and getting that perfect family photo. But what about just keeping it real?

Trust me friends, if you ever see a spotless photo of my house on social media it’s because my bimonthly cleaners just had a visit, or more than likely, that I shoved the clutter out of the frame. I don’t mind you guys seeing my clutter from time to time but sometimes I feel this strange pressure to impress you guys. I mean what’s the deal?

That’s why I’m excited to partner with Minute Maid in support of their new campaign, “this is GOOD.” According to a recent Minute Maid Survey More than one-third (36%) of parents who post pictures or videos of their family on social media admit to staging or posing most or nearly all of them. *

If you’ve been around here awhile you’ve probably seen me at some of my worst moments. I photograph a lot of the good ones. I photograph some of the bad too, and a lot of the ordinary. But sometimes that beautiful blissful ordinary is the stuff that gets left on the cutting room floor.

You’ve seen plenty of photos of me laughing and enjoying my little boy like this:

But far less when I don’t have my hair done or any makeup on, and we’re just laying on the floor like this:

I love sharing the moments I get my kids to kinda cooperate for a cute mommy and me photo:

How to take a DSLR selfie: Self portrait photography ideas and ways to get in the picture with your kids. Remote DSLR tutorial.

But I keep these photos of us totally goofing off tucked away.

Jumping on the bed with mommy silly

There’s no hesitation to show myself running around and getting dirty with my kids on the playground…

But I’m less likely to tell you the actual predicament I find myself in lately… 7 months pregnant and watching my kid play from the car, while I take a breather.

Or show you the evidence of my trying to get my son to listen to me when I tell him to get off the car.

And carrying him away in hopes that he won’t try again.

Minute Maid has launched a new campaign: this is GOOD to encourage parents to share more of their real life moments on social media. The campaign is to help remind parents that messy moments should still have us saying this is GOOD!

Do you have a silly photo that’s been sitting on your camera roll but didn’t feel worthy of sharing on social media? I encourage you to join in on this campaign’s mission to embrace life’s real moments and share that picture. Or if you didn’t grab your camera to capture those moments, do it that this week! Life isn’t perfect. It’s messy. So let’s cherish and share a bit of that imperfect too.

Use the hashtag #thisisGOOD and tag @MinuteMaid on Facebook or @MinuteMaid_US on Instagram. Excited to see what you share!

*These statistics are a part of a survey from Minute Maid that uncovers how parents are using social media to share their family online.

Hi! Oh yes, that’s me, the mom with the camera snapping photos of her kids and husband at the beach, the Washington Monument and with the Disney characters. If I had a problem, it would be over-documenting our lives a little. But I try to be cautious not to let it interfere with our fun, and the kids adore looking back at our memories in photo books.

From deciding which camera or lenses to bring, to when and where to bring your camera, and trying to remember what pictures you want to take, it can get overwhelming.

The good thing is I’ve learned a thing or two about documenting a family vacation. Over on Alamo’s Scenic Route, I’m sharing some tips on photographing your family vacation. Check it out and let me know if you have any tips to add!

Now without further ado, here are some of my favorite family vacation photos. Most of which I snapped, but the one I’m in I was luckily able to hand my camera off to someone else so I could be in it. I definitely couldn’t narrow it down to just one, and actually getting it down to 10 wasn’t easy. The theme to all of these is joy, which I think, is quite evident if you ask me.

Disney World for preschoolers #DisneyKids

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

Washington DC with kids

5 secrets for doing disney world with preschoolers

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 8: Ariel


You deserve to have great photos and video to look back on and cherish as your family grows up. I’m teaming up with Canon again to help you shoot for greatness and learn how to capture some awesome moments with your family. This month we’re talking about taking great portraits.

Every year something I like to do with my kids is plan a photo session with them highlighting some of the topics they’re interested in. Last year my daughter was into space and she got a telescope for her birthday so we did pictures outside showcasing that. We also do birthday video interviews and sometimes I’ll edit those pictures in.

The power of a child's imagination. Encouraging them to play outside and have fun.

This year I took thousands of photographs and there’s no way I could narrow down favorites because I love so many for entirely different reasons. But today I’m going to show you some of my favorite portrait photos I took this year, and share some tips for taking great portraits of your kids.

Use a large aperture (small f-stop number)

For portraits you usually want the focus to be on your subject and your background to be out of focus. You can achieve this a few different ways.

    1. 1. By using a long portrait lens such as the EF 135mm lens, or the EF 100mm lens.
    2. 2. By zooming in as far as you can go on a zoom lens such as the EF-S 18-135mm lens.
    3. 3. By using a fast lens with a wide aperture such as the EF 50mm 1.8, the EF 85mm 1.8.

Aren’t sure which lens would work best for you? Here’s a post on choosing the best camera lens. If you aren’t comfortable changing all of your settings you can set your camera to aperture priority mode (AV mode), then just change the f-stop to be the smallest it can be, and let your camera choose the rest of the settings for you. Here’s a tutorial I shared on learning different helpful camera settings.

Canon EOS Rebel t7i tutorial how to use AV mode

I tend to go the wide open aperture route for my portrait shots. I love using my 50mm lens for portraits indoors because it works well even if there isn’t a lot of light in the room. Outdoors I like using my longer lenses for portraits. Here are a couple of examples:

children's portrait tutorial

EF 50mm f/1.4 lens taken at f/1.6; ISO 4000; shutter speed 1/800

EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS; shot at f/2.8; ISO 2500; shutter speed 1/2000

Find the light

Another important aspect of taking portraits is lighting. There are so many tools and ways to get the lighting just right from reflectors and flashes, to just taking advantage of good window light.

When I’m taking portraits I’m always aware of where the light is coming from. I am usually going off natural light in my home. My kids are quick and usually on the move but we have a pretty good amount of light through most of our home. I try to position myself between the window and my subject to get a nice front light shining on them. If I position myself parallel to the window light and my kiddo I’ll get a nice side light to the photo.

Using front light you’ll get pretty shots their sparkling eyes and pretty catch lights (the white lights in their eyes reflecting the light). With sidelight you can get a fun dramatic look with a shadow across one side of their face. Here are a couple examples of the difference. Including one of the last times I saw my daughter play dress up *tear*.

Front light

Front light

Side light

Side light

Side light with lamp light

Posed vs candid?

When my kids were tiny and barely mobile I adored dressing my little ones up for some adorable posed photoshoots. Every now and then I have fun negotiating with them to take some posed shots together, but usually I go for the candids.

My husband likes to pick my kids up and get everyone to smile at the camera, where as I love taking pictures when they least expected it when they’re playing in the moment. I treasure both kinds of photos and both have a place in our family photo books. Here are examples of each I took this year with my husband and our kids.



Portraits are a great way to capture emotion in faces, and those sweet features on your children as they grow up. If you haven’t already consider planning a mini portrait session with your little one to mark how they look and act in 2017. Then continue the tradition next year and beyond. And for more tips on photographing your children check out my photography course: Child’s Play Simple Tips for Photographing Children on sale for just $29.99!

From birthdays to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’ve teamed up with Canon again this year to share how we capture the moments we cherish most. I’m also dishing out tips to help you better photograph your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.


You deserve to have great photos and video to look back on and cherish as your family grows up. I’m teaming up with Canon again to help you shoot for greatness and learn how to capture some awesome moments with your family.

So did you score a sweet deal on a fancy Canon DSLR for Black Friday but don’t know the first thing about using it? Don’t worry! I’m hear to help. I’ve got tips on getting out of auto mode, what lens to get next, and more. I had several friends asking me which camera to pick for themselves/ their kid, or spouse. And I need to work on a post breaking some of those options down. But for today, I want to address another post people have asked me about that will come in handy this holiday season and beyond… Switching to video mode!

shooting DSLR Video tutorial

Capturing special moments with your family is so important. Recording them in video can help keep those memories alive and more vivid even longer. Here are some tips for using video mode on your camera to create meaningful memories you’ll cherish forever.

You don’t need tons of money and loads of gear to get started. I could give you some recommendations for a shotgun microphone if you’re wanting a boost in good sound, or tripod suggestions if you’re wanting more stability but really when you’re just getting started you don’t need all of that.

I break all these tips down in this video tutorial below, but if you don’t have time to listen, or prefer to read keep on scrolling!

1. Set your frame rate

I’m not going to get too technical aside from this point. When you’re setting up your camera to record video you’ll want to adjust your frame rate first. Usually this is going to be either 1080p 24fps or 1080p 30fps. Basically what you need to know is if you want a more cinematic look, go with 24. If you’re not going for a specific look and just wanting to shoot some video, stick with the other one 30.

2. Let your camera set the exposure

Normally I love to shoot in full manual mode when I’m taking photos, but when I’m recording video I prefer to let my camera do the work. From exposure even down to focusing. If I am going to decide one thing it’s the aperture (or f-stop). I’ll switch my camera to AV mode and set the f-stop based on how shallow I want my depth of field. For big glowing bokeh and Christmas lights that number is going to be smaller. It’ll also make it so you can focus on your subjects and blur out distractions in the background if you’d like. Or play with creative focusing movements. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

3. Use auto-focus and an STM lens

If you’ve ever recorded video before and noticed a noisy sound in the background, it could be your lens. Canon’s Stepping Motor Lens technology provides quick, silent and smooth focusing when you’re recording a video. There are several lenses with STM. If you’re shooting on a crop sensor camera like the Canon EOS Rebel t7i or the Canon EOS 80D chances are your camera came with a kit lens with STM. If you’re looking for another to add to your bag, I’d recommend the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM.

4. Get creative with your shots

One of my favorite things to play with when I’m shooting some candid family video is play with a rack focus. Basically you use a shallow depth of field and focus on one subject, then use the touch screen to tap another subject that you want the camera to focus on. It creates a smooth transition from one object to the next and is a fun and easy little videography trick. Also, don’t be afraid to use the vari-angle screen and play with angles for your video. Eagle eye shots from above are fun as is shooting up from below. And don’t forget to flip the screen out and over so you can set it up and get in the video yourself.

5. Try time lapse

Who says all video needs to be fluid? Another creative way to capture an event is by taking a time-lapse video. This is especially fun if you’re trying to record something like setting up the Christmas tree, or a holiday light display outside your home. It’s a great way to see the progression of an event that might take awhile.

6. Remember “wide, medium and tight”

When recording video it’s a good idea to remember not just to shoot a wide shot of one scene, but getting up close for medium and close up detailed shots too. A macro lens is a great option to get super close detailed video. I like to try to record more tight shots than anything, but definitely get a variety of all three.

7. Find the story

With every video you create aim to tell a specific story. Are you setting up the Christmas tree? Documenting Christmas morning? Enjoying a family dinner? Ringing in the new year with loved ones? Record key moments and think of the story’s beginning, middle and end.

Bookmark these tips so you can come back later on tonight and all year! Questions? Let me know! And don’t forget to check out my online photography course where you can watch and learn more tips for photographing your children.

From birthdays to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’ve teamed up with Canon again this year to share how we capture the moments we cherish most. I’m also dishing out tips to help you better photograph your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.


Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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